Regarding the Sept. 24 editorial "Germany's Drift," I would like to make some points from a German perspective.
As young Germans, we were raised and educated to mistrust politicians who intended to send other people's children to war.
My parents know what it means if cities are turned into rubble, families are torn apart, and tens of thousands of lives are lost during air raids. They know it from Dresden, Hamburg, Kassel, and Berlin. They do not wish other parents and children to share the same experiences. When the twin towers fell, it was a picture of what in Europe was gruesome daily reality years ago.
Germany is a democratic state, which President Bush, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice should acknowledge. How can Mr. Bush claim to defend democracy in the world when he is not happy with how some democracies turn out? Germany should not be regarded as a satellite of the US.
Rather than Germany appearing isolated, I am afraid America comes across as the big bully on the block to the rest of the world an impression the America I respect and love does not deserve.
Regarding "Germany's Drift": Perhaps another way to discuss the present situation in German-American diplomatic relations is to refer to America's drift away from the values that made it a reliable partner for Germany and other countries.
Instead of phrasing things as the other guy's fault, it might be useful to understand their point of view. If Germany and other European states react negatively to the American government, it may be that they rightly see America, once a trusted and valued partner, now preaching and practicing unilateralism.
Regarding your Sept. 24 article "Allies' PR war targets Arab states": Are Prime Minister Blair and President Bush really so blinded by their anxious march toward war that they do not see the underlying problem? I do not believe that many Arabs would disagree about Saddam Hussein being a bad guy. The problem is that their key enemy in the region, Israel, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and the Israeli defiance of international law has every Arab alive scratching their head and asking: Why? Why the rush to destroy the Arab nations, but support Prime Minister Sharon's regime with military hardware and monetary aid?
Regarding Lori Handrahan's Sept. 24 Opinion piece "Run, Oprah, run!": The author rightly points out that the Democrats are not providing strong leadership to their traditional core constituencies.
However, the suggestion that Oprah Winfrey run for office is very short-sighted. It will not solve what truly ails the Democratic Party. Or even politics as a whole, in that both parties are beholden to the corporate interests and wealthy elites that are setting the agenda and policies of our country. Until we eliminate the sale of our politicians to the highest bidder, no amount of celebrity is going to fix this mess.
Thanks for the Sept. 24 editorial "Silence still golden" on cellphone use in inappropriate places. Perhaps it's time for other patrons to take action regarding those who use cellphones in restaurants and theaters, and tell them in no uncertain terms to shut them off.
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